The map that proves Donald Trump is still trailing Hillary Clinton

A string of polls has shown the Republican candidate taking a lead in the race for the White House, but a new country-wide survey shows red states turning purple or blue, with even Texas now in play 

David Usborne
New York
Tuesday 06 September 2016 17:26
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Donald Trump has taken a slim lead in national polls but the electoral college means Hillary Clinton still has best chance of winning
Donald Trump has taken a slim lead in national polls but the electoral college means Hillary Clinton still has best chance of winning

While Donald Trump has gained in national polls, a comprehensive new state-by-state survey shows he has a steep hill to climb to achieve an electoral college majority on election day.

Most alarmingly for Mr Trump, his weakness among college-educated white voters, especially women, means that he is struggling to nail down several states that should be Republican strongholds. Among them, most surprisingly, is Texas, as well as Georgia and Arizona.

The survey, conducted by The Washington Post and SurveyMonkey, is a reminder that who wins on 8 November will not be determined by the national popular vote but rather will come down to which of the two main candidates can muster the 270 votes needed to win in the electoral college.

Taken in the run up to the Labour Day weekend, when campaigning traditionally kicks into high gear, the survey was unprecedented in scope, taking into account the responses of no fewer than 74,000 registered voters in every state.

In a two-way contest, Hillary Clinton, the Democrat nominee, is currently leading by four points or more in 20 states plus the District of Columbia, which together would give her 244 votes in the electoral college, tantalisingly close to outright victory.

Mr Trump also leads by the same margin or greater in twenty states, but, because some have smaller populations, they would deliver him only 168 electoral votes.

The advantage for Ms Clinton narrows somewhat when the leading third party candidates - Gary Johnson for the Libertarian Party and Jill Stein for the Green Party - are put in the mix, but her position versus that of Mr Trump still looks enviable.

This and other data collections explain why the uptick for Mr Trump in national support has yet to sow panic in the Clinton campaign. For instance, a CNN/ORC poll on Tuesday showed Mr Trump leading 45 to 43 per cent with Mr Johnson at 7 per cent and Ms Stein at just 2 per cent.

After the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia, Ms Clinton opened a ten-point lead nationally. However, that has now dwindled to just four points in the latest average of polls released by RealClearPolitics.

The upper Midwest, including the crucial state of Ohio, would appear to be a bright spot for Mr Trump. It’s a region with large numbers of non-college educated white men who are drawn to his messaging on immigration and trade. The Washington Post survey shows him with a slight lead in Ohio and also Iowa and in a close race in Michigan, Wisconsin and also Pennsylvania.

But with parts of the normally reliable Republican base splintering off, he faces peril in states he absolutely cannot afford to lose in November. Remarkably the survey gave Ms Clinton a one-point advantage in Texas today. The last Democratic presidential candidate to take the Lone Star state was Jimmy Carter in 1976, a fellow southerner.

Hillary Clinton speaking at a campaign event at Riverfront Sports in Scranton, Pennsylvania

While Mr Trump may be tempted to keep bolstering already solid support among minimally-educated white men, it seems his priority now should be reaching out to those Republicans still not enamoured of him. That could be difficult with so many high-profile Republicans publicly spurning him and so many women Republicans also resisting his appeal.

Mr Carter’s state of Georgia seems to be in play as does Arizona. Ms Clinton began airing television ads in the latter last week and her campaign has stepped up get-out-the-vote efforts in both states.

The gender gap in this election could be more stark than in past cycles, the survey suggests. Across all 50 states, Ms Clinton does 14 points better among women than men; Mr Trump does 16 points better among men than women. But much more striking is how far adrift Mr Trump is among college educated voters.

In past cycles, Republican candidates have seen deep support among white college graduates. Yet according to this survey, Ms Clinton is beating him among those voters in 31 of the 50 states. He is ahead in that group in only 13 states, none of them states that were ever likely to vote anything but Republican.

These trends also translate into strength for Ms Clinton in several of the key swing states. She has slight - and certainly not daunting - leads of four points or less in Florida and Colorado. The survey shows the two candidates tied in North Carolina.

The survey showed Mr Johnson, the Libertarian, attaining 15 per cent support in 15 states. He is strongest in New Mexico, where he served as Governor, so far winning 15 per cent support as against the 29 per cent who are supporting Mr Trump.

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